During an 8-2 start, the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds pitching staff has been outstanding. Especially Delmarva’s six-man rotation, which has seen its starters allow two earned runs or less nine time in 10 games.
The Shorebirds have seven pitchers on starters’ schedules in a six-man rotation. Right-hander Michael Baumann started opening day and was followed by Cameron Bishop, Matthias Dietz, Brenan Hanifee, Zac Lowther and 2017 top draft pick DL Hall. Gray Fenter pitches in relief after Hall.
Delmarva’s starters have combined to go 7-2 with an ERA of 1.92. They have recorded seven quality starts. Their last three starters fanned 15 without a walk over 19 innings.
“It’s been fun to watch,” Britton told Jim Hunter. “Our rotation includes some older college (drafted) guys that have come out and right from the get-go, it’s been impressive. They’ve been attacking the zone, and primarily with their fastball. Sometimes at this level, that can get out of whack, the fastball command. But we’ve had guys absolutely pound the zone and not be afraid. It’s rubbed off even on our younger prospects, guys like DL Hall and Gray Fenter. They attacked the zone, too, in a fearless manner.”
Opening night starter Baumann is 2-0 with an ERA of 0.82. He has walked three and fanned 19 over 11 innings. He throws a fastball between 92 and 96 mph that averages around 93 mph, along with a solid slider and changeup. The 6-foot-4, 225-lb. Baumann was drafted from the same school as outfielder Austin Hays. He was a third-round pick last June out of Jacksonville. He has a career 1.18 ERA over 53 1/3 innings, counting his stay at short-season Single-A Aberdeen after the 2017 draft.
“That is what they are supposed to look like,” Britton said of Baumann. “Big, physical guy that fills out his uniform. But his fastball command has been amazing. He’s got good downhill angle on his fastball. When you can locate it down in the zone and then locate it up and in to right-handers with the precision that he has, it’s been impressive.”
Delmarva has a team batting average of .274 with 56 runs through 10 games. Shorebirds pitchers have a team ERA of 2.15. Out of the bullpen, lefty Travis Seabrooke has pitched 7 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run.
Winning works hand-in-hand with player development, according to Britton, a veteran of more than 800 minor league games as a player.
“I’m a huge believer that winning is part of development,” he said. “Teaching players how to play to win is a huge part of development. Them getting off to this good start provides confidence and they can relax and let their natural abilities take over. It is huge for that aspect.”
Delmarva was rained out on Sunday. The Shorebirds are scheduled to begin a three-game series at Hagerstown tonight.
As for the big club: Well, at least they didn’t get outscored in the first inning on Sunday. They led Boston 1-0 at that point, but lost again. The Orioles fell to 5-11 and have dropped five of six games after Sunday’s 3-1 loss at Fenway Park. With today’s rainout, the Orioles got swept in that series and now head to Detroit for a series that begins Tuesday night.
Dylan Bundy has an ERA of 1.40 and 31 strikeouts over 25 2/3 innings, but the Orioles are 1-3 in his starts and his personal record is 0-2.
The Orioles are 1-5 since they won that series at Yankee Stadium. They scored seven runs in a three-game home series against Toronto. They scored seven runs in three games in Boston.
The Orioles have scored three runs or less 11 times this year, winning only on opening day. So they are 0-10 since the opener when scoring three or fewer runs. The current team batting average is .216 and it was a season-high .222 after Saturday’s game. The Orioles have hit one homer over the past five games.
They’ve got to find some offense - and soon. They begin a series in Detroit on Tuesday night. The Tigers, rained out Saturday and of a doubleheader Sunday and off today, are 4-9 with a five-game losing streak.
Harvey’s Bowie debut: O’s right-handed pitching prospect Hunter Harvey made his Double-A Bowie debut Saturday night. He went two innings at Harrisburg, allowing two hits and one run with no walks and one strikeout. A scout who saw that game said Harvey’s fastball worked between 95 and 97 mph with several readings of 97 mph. The scout loved Harvey’s arm speed and stuff, and added that he looked pretty amped up for his first pro outing above Single-A Delmarva.